Censuring The Censors


Rod W coordinates and maintains these entries. He also maintains The Chopping List, a comprehensive guide to movies which have been censored in Australia.



Predator 2

The following Censorship information was provided by Michael D's and is not written by myself. It could contain SPOILERS, so read at you own risk.

Australian director Stephen Hopkins' 1990 sequel to the Arnold Schwarzenegger hit of 1987 had no trouble with the American MPAA on original release, being awarded a US R rating with little, or no, questions asked. Surprisingly, it also fared surprisingly well with the British BBFC, who awarded the uncut US version an '18' classification. However, things were not to be so rosy for the picture when it ventured into the Southern Hemisphere.

Australian distributor 20th Century Fox submitted the uncut US R-rated cut to the OFLC in 1990 expecting the same stroke of luck they had been granted with the surprising M classification on the exceptionally violent original film. The OFLC surprised the distributor by classifying the film with an R rating, citing several brief, but bloody, scenes as well as brief drug references that pushed it out of the M category. Fox were given the option of editing the film for the more commercially viable M classification, over its more restrictive (and financially crippling) classification. On the money, Fox ran with this option, and ever since Australian audiences have only ever had access to this "softened" version.

Until now...

The R4 disc appears to have been mastered from the uncut R2 version, which should give local collectors cause for celebration. Fox's disc is the first time that the full uncut version of Hopkins' film has been available in this territory, restoring just over 40 seconds of footage & reclaiming the original R rating.

Restored footage includes:

1. During the film's opening street battle with the Colombian gang, several brief slow motion shots of gang members taking bullet hits when Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) ambushes them with a shotgun have been reinstated. In the original M rated cinema & video releases, these shots were clumsily "disguised" by white frame flashes that smoothed over the cuts.

Two scenes of Colombian gang members hyping themselves up with extravagant amounts of cocaine have also been reinstated. Shortly after the gang members retreat into the abandoned tenement block & tool up with varied heavy artillery, one member can be seen grabbing a handful of cocaine, burying his face in his palm, then beating his shoulder with the same hand. This is shortly followed by the gang leader reaching beneath his flack-jacket & producing a small gold cannister from which he snorts an exemplary amount of the powder. The M cut removed the first gang member in his entirety, and reduced the leader's scene to him simply reaching beneath his jacket!

3. During the high-rise scene two short sequences, and a brief shot, have been restored. Shortly after the dread-locked Jamaican performs the voodoo ceremony on his strung up victim, there is a brief shot of him sinking his knife into the man's chest, followed by a long shot that clearly indicates that he is cutting out the man's heart.

A third gang member's death scene has also been reinstated. He is seen to be impaled from behind by the Predator (hooks emerging from his stomach), then lifted into the air. The scene takes place from an overhead camera-shot.

A final "blink & you'll miss it" shot has been restored when the remaining gang members open fire on their invisible enemy. In the crossfire, the man previously seen pinned to a wall with the Predator's hunting net is seen to take the impact of numerous bullet hits.

3. Peter Keyes' (Gary Busey) death scene has been restored to its full gory glory. When the Predator kills him with its flying blade (the LED boomerang!), the M rated version never makes clear the extent of the damage. In the uncut R4 disc, the camera follows the blade as it slices through cow carcasses in slow motion, and then Keyes. There is an enormous shower of blood shown spilling to the floor, with Keyes' severed lower torso falling after it in slow motion. The prior M rated edition obscures the damage by moving forward the reaction shot of Glover, eliminating part of the blood flow & virtually all of the severed torso's fall.